My brother has been sentenced to prison for 4-15 years for an OUI resulting in death. I have no desire to focus on his crime or its details; rather, the manner in which incarceration does not actually help injured victims or rehabilitate offenders and instead, harms those attached to the criminal. I have calculated that I will have spent thousands of dollars on telephone calls alone by the time my brother may be allowed parole. This is a severe financial drain. I would much, much rather give this money to the victim’s family instead of Sprint.
I wish judges would sentence non-violent offenders to more useful punishments. My brother could have been required to spend the next thirty years doing laundry, housework, chauffeuring, yardwork and other things for the family he injured. Rather, the judge sentenced his family and community to injury and him to almost inescapable madness. In an even stranger turn of events, after his psychological evaluation, no substance abuse or rehabilitative programs whatsoever were suggested for my brother. He has had to write letters begging to be allowed to take substance abuse programs and is now on a waiting list for them. It is clear to me that the U.S. criminal justice system has no intent whatsoever to prevent crime and rehabilitate criminals.
Many people have a knee-jerk reaction to prison issues. They say, “Well, she did something bad. She should pay for it.” Well, chances are you or your friend or your family member are in prison, jail or on parole if you live in America. Just because they did something bad does not mean prison will fix them or what they did wrong. Instead, it will make everything worse. Please consider the following facts from Wikipedia and Commondreams.org:
- The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world.The USA also has the highest total documented prison and jail population in the world.
- The U.S. Congress has ordered that federal judges make imprisonment decisions “recognizing that imprisonment is not an appropriate means of promoting correction and rehabilitation.”
- Half of all persons incarcerated under state jurisdiction are for non-violent offenses, and 20% (in State prisons, whereas Federal prison percentages are higher) are incarcerated for drug offenses.
- “Human Rights Watch believes the extraordinary rate of incarceration in the United States wreaks havoc on individuals, families and communities, and saps the strength of the nation as a whole.”
- Although blacks account for only 12 percent of the U.S. population, 44 percent of all prisoners in the United States are black.
- More people are behind bars in the United States than in any other country. China ranks second with 1.5 million prisoners, followed by Russia with 870,000.
- Admissions of inmates have been rising even faster than the numbers of prisoners who have been released.
- “The United States has 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated population.
- None of the statics above are able to include Secret U.S. prisons because they are secret. The numbers of incarcerated in the USA today are even higher.
So ask yourself: Is America just full of the worst people on the planet Earth or is our criminal justice system the worst in the world?
When will you start caring?
- When someone you know goes to jail or prison.
- When you go to jail or prison.
- When America has 50% or more of the world’s prison population.